WHSFL RECAP: Defending champ Raiders open season with victory

The Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL) opened the season Thursday night. The Dakota Lancers and Oak Park Raiders met with Oak Park taking the game 39-29. Everything you would expect from the first game of the season happened on Thursday. There were big plays, turnovers and a lot of excitement for both teams’ fans.

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Changes on both teams were evident as the Lancers are fielding a young team and the Raiders are without many of their players from last year. Oak Park was more than happy to have the enormous leg of Niko Defonte on Thursday. Defonte went 3-4 kicking field goals. Kicking coach George McFall claimed his kicker “has the strongest leg I’ve ever seen in high school”.

In the first half of Thursday’s game both teams exchanged scores back and forth. The Raiders and Lancers were unable to find an answer at defence to stop one another. The biggest change in the game happened when Shak Harris was put in at wildcat and that’s when Oak Park’s offence shined.

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Turnovers costed the Lancers as the Raiders’ William Nuilan intercepted one pass and scored a touchdown on a fumble. Nuilan picked up a fumble recovery in the end zone.

“Turnovers killed us,” said Lancers coach Tyler Fabbri.

The Raiders took a roughing the kicker penalty in the final three minutes of the game and the Lancers were able to drive the field and get the two-point conversion. On the next kickoff, the Lancers went for the onside kick and failed to pick up the ball. Raiders Shak Harris then got the ball and made the Lancers pay.

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Dakota Lancer quarterback Colby Kyliuk was upbeat after the game.

“We kept pushing we persevered and no matter the outcome I’m happy with our team, we have potential,” added Kyliuk who had an interception and a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown.

His main target was Conor Nedelec. Nedelec had a long touchdown before halftime and was targeted many more times. Lancers running back Somto Anyadike had a big game as well.

“I can’t really say I scored it but my o-line pried it for me,” said Shak Harris about the game winning touchdown.  “I make the moves they make the blocks.”



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